And this one belongs to…
My Dad. This post is about my Dad and baseball. The best memories I have of him, the memories that comfort me the most are the ones that send me back with the smell of a hot dog, the cheer of the crowd and sharing a box of cracker jacks after the seventh inning stretch or listening to Marty Brennaman call the game on the radio sitting on the front porch glider with him under a starry summer sky.
My Dad loved baseball, he was a loyal Cincinnati Reds fan till the day he died. He was buried with his favorite Reds ball cap but the memories live with me and are alive and well so I thought I would share some of them with you today…Opening Day 2012 for the Cincinnati Reds.
My Dad played ball growing up, stick ball in the streets honing his pitching skills with makeshift equipment and wild dreams of playing professionally. It almost happened for him, he was invited to spring training but then shortly after he would be drafted and off to fight in WWII. When he returned home, his dream of playing baseball for the Reds was over. The love of baseball would remain the one constant throughout his life and in the end when he could not remember what day it was, who had come to visit him or how old he was, he could still tell you the starting lineup from every world series game the Cincinnati Reds ever played in.
It was always a thrill as a kid to go to the ballpark just me and my Dad, the memory takes little effort for me to bring to the forefront of my mind, maybe because it lives in my heart more than my mind and though it seems like a lifetime ago, the crack of the bat echos through the years. My small hand in his crossing the big city streets, the massive amount of people, a sea of red flowing into the ballpark. It’s where I learned about loyalty, and how to not give up when all the cards are stacked against you and everybody says you will fail. Where I learned about running hard and giving it your all even when you don’t think you can take another step to make it to the spot you need to get to right in front of you. It’s also where learned that mustard IS good when it’s on a ballpark hotdog washed down by a cherry Slurpee and too much pink cotton candy is never a good thing.
I am a baseball fan because I love the game, I love the memories, I love the Cincinnati Reds and because I love that when I am at the ballpark sitting down the third base line he is undoubtedly there with me rooting on his boys for the win!
Thank you Dad for this gift that has helped me stay close to you and keep the memories alive when I miss you so so much and would give just about anything to hear you sing “take me out to the ballgame” out of tune just one more time……